26 May 2005

H&N News

How chuffed am I? Very very... not only have we sold out of issue Five/Six but Shocklines have agreed to stock us. Copies of all issues of H&N to date, were despatched to them today and they'll be taking copies of all future issues too so those of you in the US/Canada areas can get hold of the mag so much quicker now! It should be up on their catalogue in about a week I think. Will post the exact catalogue page link as and when....

25 May 2005

Ok, think I fixed the size problem. (At least, according to all the computers I've got access to, I have. If it doesn't work on yours, let me know!)

Now to sort the blog...

20 May 2005

There's always something.... so apparently the new design works fine on some screen sizes (at least I think it's the screen sizes, could be the browser...) and on others it explodes out of all proportion with hideously magnified text and layers all over the place. Arggh. Am fiddling to fix it.
Even more H&N bits!

New version of the website is now live! Wahey! Seems to be working ok so far, despite the plain design.
Check out the expanded links sections - which now have webpages for almost every single H&N contributor (excepting the ones I can't find any pages for) as well as links to a few contributors books (which I don't earn money for btw, they're a 4the luv thing!). If you've been in the mag and your website is wrong or missing, let me know and I'll wang it in for you.
And don't forget to add your latest news to the promo thread in the messageboards too...!

Then there's the all new issue extracts pages which include the reviews of each issue. (Except I'm missing the Fix #7 review of H&N #3 as I 'safely' stashed my copy somewhere and can't find it. so when I can get hold of it, it'll get added.. unless someone wants to photocopy the page and fax/post it over to me? )

I've mucked around with the submission guidelines again and added the new contributor payment rates (applicable from Issue 9); and the new cover price (which I mentioned months ago, which is, basically, only 25p more).

Also, there's a few commercial bits - google ads (which I'm still working out how to use properly) and Amazon links (both of which I get click-thru on apparently, so please do...!) as well as a paypal donation button in case you've got a spare 50p you want to throw my way! (Spare money, I remember the days...sigh....)

And there's a google site search facility too!
Phew.

I'm also mid-process in getting us on that Froogle thingy in the vain hope of getting more people to buy the mag (which benefits you, the contributors, natch!)

Which pretty much wraps up the web changes. (when I can get my brain working, I'll be attempting to match the look of the blog to the look of the rest of the site. God knows if that'll work though.)

I'm also midway through doing a proposal for an artsboard grant - which would be handy (but not essential to survival!); as well as sorting out Shocklines & Project Pulp thingies. Will let you know how they go!

19 May 2005

More H&N bits

(because someone hit the publish button instead of the return button...ahem...)

So where were we...(and I really must stop starting each post with 'so')

News, news... ah yes. Apparently someone nominated us for a BFS small press award (which is a little embarassing because it's for work in the year 2004 and last year was one issue and worse than lousy response times.) On the plus side there's about 20 or so other things nominated in the Small Press category so we can just ignore that blip this year. Now next year, we might actually deserve the nomination.... (still be a bit embarassing though... would rather one of the stories won best short fiction, then the mag won best small press...)


BFS bits

While we're on awards, it's always so tempting to gossip and I'd get strangulated for going into actual details... but at the moment the BFS committee bods have started up the annual discussions on who's going to get the Special Award this year. (The only award where final voting is down to the committee & RAmsey C., whereas all the rest are membership voted.)
Anyway, we had about a dozen nominations from the membership and the fun always comes because one portion of us go for one type of person, another portion go for another type of person and we then spend weeks seeing who can argue their case best.

As for the rest of the voting... the forms are getting copied up at the moment, ready to go out with the next Prism (which should be due in a couple of weeks) and there's tons of buggers nominated for the first wave.

Fcon bits

The Walsall hotel visit was a fun one - they've repainted and fixed the air-con so it was actually possible not to freeze this time. And not only did we get free rooms as con organisors, but it was an executive suite! Thank you very much!! (I've never had a kitchen in my hotel room before! Or a living room!)

We've had Steven Erikson confirmed as our 3rd guest (cue grumbles becuase it's an all bloke line up this year) and Graham Joyce has kindly agreed to be Master of Ceremonies.

For next year we've got a Big Name American Guest semi confirmed, pending confirmation of dates from us.
But to do that, first we need to lock down the venue.... argh!
The first hotel I scouted looked perfect... right up until they gave me their best prices. The award for biggest bunch of jokers go to the Renaissance Hotel in Reading! You don't even want to know what their room rates rise to for the Sunday night...
Next on my list is the hotel on Caversham Bridge (down the road from where they do the Reading Festival...) - which looks like it might be a possible (pending prices) - although it is further away from the town centre than I'd like. (Close enough to Reading Station though..)
At least there's a couple of restaurents/cafe's etc nearby so if we do get it, and the hotel food stinks, then there's other options available.

If their prices are stupid though, I'm not sure where to look next as that's it for suitable Reading hotels. We want somewhere near civilisation for '06, but town centre hotels with conference facilities tend to go for a vast hike in prices. We can deal with pricy venue hiring I think - at least as far as next year is confirmed, but the goal is to get decent rates on the accomodation.
So if Reading bottoms out where next? Stay south and hit Bracknell or Swindon, or move back to the middle and go for maybe Birmingham or Manchester or similar.
(Or really shock the northerners and do a Newcastle one!)

Will keep you updated!


Other bits

So (argh! did it again!), mum, the publicity slut, is going on the local radio next week to pimp her book. (Then she's got Newcastle radio in Sept/Oct and various student paper articles/columns/ god knows what as well..)
And, the funniest thing is that, according to mum's publisher chappie, the AIIC (Association of Independent Inventory Clerks, to you. Regulatory body kinda thing.) want to incorporate vast chunks of the book into their training courses. The funny bit being that mum knew nothing about this and she's actually on the committee!
H&N bits

So I've just spent 4 solid days doing nothing but mucking around with the new version of the website - we're almost there. Packed with content, but the design's still a bit iffy. One day I'll have no trouble with getting images and amazon product links to actually appear... however that day is not yet here. And the title/header thingy is still a bit boring. Think I'll get that one sorted out in the version after the one I'm working on!

Meantime, big thanks for all the words of encouragement and wotnot that have been coming over the email - totally appreciated! Glad you all like the Fabulous Beast!
Now I'm waiting with bated breath for the reviews... should eventually see one on the Whispers of Wickedness site, also in one of the BFS mags. And have sent review copies off to Locus just on the off chance; also Year's Best F&H cos they really do need to honourably mention some of the stories in #5/6. Oh yes they do.

13 May 2005

So there I am, just flicking through the latest issue of Fables when I come across... ta daah.... a preview for the new comic adaption of Neverwhere (due out June, I think). Good grief. Actually doesn't look too bad, I can buy the artist's rendition of Door, not too sure about Croup and Vandemeer though. Much prefer the original TV versions of The Old Firm.
And it's being written by Mike Carey which is good, cos I'm a big fan of the Lucifer series. Just hope they don't Americanise it too much.

Speaking of, have so far diligently avoided the movie version of Hellblazer (although I might waste the money to rent it, just the once, just to see how toe-curling it is). I mean, Canoe the walking plank as Constantine? Do me a favour.

Actually, seems to be a bit of a comic book movie thing going on at the moment as Sky have got Hellboy and Punisher showing on the boxoffice channels. Now is it me, or is the chappie who played Punisher the dead spit for a younger Christopher Lambert. If they ever resurrect the Highlander films they've at least got someone who can do the not too old and fat version of Connor McLeod...

09 May 2005

06 May 2005

Blog feed thingy:

No idea what it is (must now go surfing to find out!) but apparently I do have one!

So if you know what to do with a feed URL, here it is:
Smug Mode

It's back, it's back, it's baaaaaccckkk! Oh my goodness, yes. Took delivery of the fabulous beast an hour ago... shiny cover (which I didn't ask for but got anyway!), printed spine and all.

Happily the internal attempts at design carried over ok (perils of doing things in MS (bastards) Word - grey scale pretties usually look better on screen than when they print out...). Spotted a couple of format oopses which I should have picked up in the proof stage but didn't, but other than that, oh my goodness, yes.

I absolutely love it!

Have to pop up to Walsall now for a couple of days to do a Fantasycon Hotel trip with the other organisers (it's a hard life, really...) so mags will be going in the post Monday morning.


Then next week it's web re-design and just how fast can I learn CSS? Doesn't look too hard... It's the PHP & SQL thingies that worry me....